For Parents Were your kids on a REC program b4 team?

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Shawn sent me a message :) thanks! And so i figured I would just ask for some of your experiences with your kids on the Rec program before joining team? What difference did it make. How long were they on rec before hand. Was there faster improvements once making team. Ect ect. Any and all views/opinions/ and advice welcome!


I've never seen a gym where they didn't start in a rec program before being invited to team - unless they were somewhere else first or did something like cheer first. My dd was first at a gym that was strictly rec - no team or anything - silly me - I never thought it would turn into this. I was just looking for something fun for her to do. The first real gym I put her in started her in the rec intermediate class (level 2), then she moved to pre-team (level 3) and and started competing in level 4. At that gym and where she is now you have to have ALL your skills at a level before moving up. How long they stay in the rec part of the gym is totally individual - some girls move up fast, others not as much - and it also depends on gym policy.
Feb 4, 2008
Region IV
Oh, absolutely. Just like Flippy, I've never seen it done another way. How would a gym know who is team material without a chance to observe a girl in rec classes (unless, as Flippy said, they come from another gym).

My little dd was in rec for about 4 months before being pulled into team track. For little girls too young to compete, and my dd was 4, these often have names like Hot Shots or Power Tots or something.

My older dd was in rec classes for about 4 years where she made steady progression. She took a 2 year break from gymnastics and then went to team.

Guess which one stayed on team the longest and achieved the higher level? Yep, the older one.

Team early, team later after some years in rec . . . I just don't think it makes a difference. Twelve families out there are raising the next two Olympic teams. For the rest of us, it just makes more sense to look at gymnastics as any other kids activity (albeit one that 's way more time-consuming and expensive than most others--I've hear hockey and figure skating are just as bad).


Nah, figure skating is way worse :) lol

My main focus is because I am already spending the time and the money at the gym. And in my belief from what i see is she would get more out of it on the team (well preteam lol) then the rec classes. :)

That was my main question i guess without actually stating it.​

gym law mom

Proud Parent
Dec 23, 2006
As all the others have said, all kids start in some type of rec classes. For many thats enough and they either don't have the time, interest or money to continue on. My gymmie started in a parent and me class at age 2 and went to rec classes(advanced) on/off until age 7 when the compulsory coach asked me why she wasn't in the pre-team program. Hey, it was their gym, I didn't even know about a pre-team program. She was moved to that and started competing as a L5 at age 9.

Certainly kids seem to improve their gymnastics in a pre-team program because it is more concentrated on learning the skills needed for competition and more time than a rec class. You need to discuss what basic skills are needed to move to your gym's pre-team program. Both gyms we've been at, pre-team has been invite only. I know when my gymmie moved to pre-team, she had back hip circle, pullover on bars, bhs(no spot), bwo, round off on floor. Most kids don't have that many beam skills or can vault. Thats really where pre-team picks it up a notch.


Proud Parent
Proud Parent
Sep 25, 2007
I think it depends on the gym, the child and the programs requirements/programs available. Also at what age the girl starts. Many gyms don't even look at kids for team/preteam until they are older. There are so many variables it would be impossible to estimate. I would say anywhere from 6 months to several years in rec classes, given all the possibilities.

My DD has been at 3 gyms. We started only for fun, I never dreamed or wanted my DD to do competitive gymnastics. I didn't even know it existed for little kids. LOL.

She started at 4 at the first gym. They really didn't learn much gymnastics there at all. It was all about fun and obstacle courses, jumping on the tramp. We left that gym after management did something I found horrible to the team gymnasts.

The next gym she started at when she was 4 1/2. She was there until a little after she turned 5. They did start to learn more gymnastics, but it was also a lot about fun and just getting accustomed to the equiptment.

Her current gym she started at after she turned 5. She was getting bored at her old gym and was teaching herself stuff at home. After a month of their rec class (though her coach told me the first day that she would be ready to move) she was moved to developmental/pre-team class. After 6 months in that class, she was moved to team. Some of the girls that moved to team with her had been there for a year, one had been there 5 months.
What we have here is something called "advanced preschool" which pretty much puts you on track for team at about 4 years old. I remember my kids were in rec for about 3 months then got moved to the advanced program, then pre-team.


Proud Parent
Mar 7, 2008
Region 7
My oldest DD started rec at 4 yrs old, moved to a developmental class (1.5 hrs/wk) at 6 and then we changed gyms b/c she didn't advance or learn any new skills for a whole year. At the new gym, she was 7y2m, invited to Level 4 six months later, and competed her first 4 meet on her 8th birthday.

Little DD started preschool gym at 3y2m, changed gyms a year later at 4y2m...then to the hotshot (preteam 4 hrs/wk) just before her 5th birthday. By 5.5 yrs she was moved up to L4 and competed her first L4 meet at 6y2m.


Proud Parent
Feb 19, 2007
My DD was, I guess, a little different. She was put in an "invitation only" class when she was 5 years old. They wanted to move her on up after that, but she wanted to do other things such as dance and ice skating. So two years of dance, a year or two of ice skating (can't exactly remember now!), and then she went back to recreational gymnastics. She moved up all the "levels" available and then attended a "summer camp" (for rec kids only) a few years ago. The head coach said she was more than qualified for Level 4 team. This after having been told previously by another coach that she was "too old" for team. I sure wish I hadn't listened to that other coach then! Anyway, so here we are.. she's a Level 6, 13 year old. (but has been unable to practice those skills for the last 2 months due to a broken collarbone - I hope she can catch on fast!)....

Nov 5, 2007
My daugter went to a rec class when she was 6 years old.After about one year the coach said that she should get tested to join their rec-opt program.She got in and when she was 8 she competed her first rec-opt meet.All of the events were basically Level 7 skills except for bars,it was the Level 6 bar routine.When she was 9 she competed Level 8 and
with 10 Level 8.She is currently prcticing for Level 9 and is on a pre-elite team.Everything kind of seem to happen so fast.I did not have much knowledge of gymnastics except what you see on TV.
Sep 19, 2007
My dd had no rec experience. She had 1 year of cheerleading experience before being placed as a level 4 on team. I can definately see the advantages of having your daugter on a rec/pre team before, but can say that in the last 2 years of gym, she has caught up with all of the other girls on her team that are the same age, and started gymnastics at 3.


Proud Parent
Aug 16, 2008
My older DD took her first rec class in May 2007. In March 2008, she was put in the advanced class and in April 2008 moved to team (which starts at level 1 in our gym). Now she is in L3. She's 7 yo.

My younger DD has been in the same rec class since May 2007...and probably will stay there which is fine, too!;)

Our gym has a policy where you have to be in rec 6 mos before moving to team...unless you come from another gym.


Our gym doesn't have a rec program. New girls are placed either in classes or on pre-team, which is training for level 2. From there, they move to the level 2 team.


Moderator/Proud Parent
Aug 25, 2007
North Carolina
My DD did 6 months in a pre-school class in 2006. Fall of 2006 she moved to rec class that was 2 days a week / one hour per day. Fall of 2007 she moved to Level 3. She is currently competing L3 this fall and moving to L4 in January.

Our gym has pre-school 3-5, Rec 6-8, Rec 9 & up, Level 2 rec class, Level 3 Team, Level 4 & up team


Our gym doesn't have a rec program. New girls are placed either in classes or on pre-team, which is training for level 2. From there, they move to the level 2 team.

Classes are recreational, aren't they ???


Proud Parent
May 21, 2008
I think we may some terminology issues here. Our gym has the following:
-Team (USGA Competition Team Pre team to level 10)
-Rec Team (can train a max of 6 hours and does the same routines with different rules on spotting etc)
-Classes (standard 1 or 2 hour devo classes)

Kids generally seem to progress from regular classes to pre team to team.


We don't have any kind of rec team - just classes, then pre-team, etc. I consider anything other than team to be rec since they aren't competing. Actually wouldn't having a rec team that competes kinda be an oxymoron sorta ??? Either that or my brain is still a little fuzzy this morning - not enough coffee yet :D


I guess there is just rec classes :) And then a structured rec programs out there.

Our gym just seems to have rec classes. There are just like three group levels. And my dd who is in the advanced preschool/ big girl beginners classes. But she has done intermediate rec class before and its the same thing. Not a lot of structure to it. Each week you never know who is going to be there ect ect.

I wouldnt mind rec so much if they had a nice progression level. Structured more like team levels for girls who werent going to compete or who arent necessarily good enough for team.


Both my dds started a little after their third birthday in a preschool class. Olivia after a few classes was placed in an advanced preschool class. By her 4th birthday was asked to join pre team. By 4.5 years old was placed in a level 2 team. Shortly after we left that gym and at the new gym she was placed in a preteam(they called it special team) but trained more. She is now 5 years old and competing Level 3. And has most of her level 4 skills.

Julia who also started preschool at 3 years old is just now in a rec Level 1/2 class. They are focusing more on form than big skills. She is very close to having her pullover and backhip circle and has a beautiful cartwheel. Although her forward roll still needs work. She can't seem to stand up without using her hands. She will be 4.5 years old in October. I am guessing she will be asked to join special team by next fall if not summer.
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